Yemen’s war has been dragging on for seven long years and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
The crisis started as a civil war and has evolved into becoming a chaotic struggle for removing rebels that are fighting a baseless war using extremist values.
The worst affected in this war are civilians, civilians who get killed while killing the Houthi rebels and those civilians who are important for the future generation- children. The war caused massive causalities and malnutrition amongst children. More than 4 million children in Yemen are facing the threat of death, and parents can’t afford treating their kids amongst the measly meals they get after fighting for leftovers, as aid that is brought in from Hodeidah ( Yemen’s most important and only port) is usually destroyed by the rebels.
“The world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” said U.N. World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley.
David is currently in Yemen and more than 75% of the country needs humanitarian aid – currently no country in the world needs as much. According to the U.S. Department of State, around 18 million out of 22 million Yemeni’s are homeless, hungry and fighting to survive among the debris.
In early April 2018 in Geneva, a High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen, convened by the UN and the governments of Sweden and Switzerland, raised over $2 billion — interestingly, the largest donors by far were the Saudis and the Emiratis, contributing half of the total received. The U.S. pledged nearly $87 million, in addition to its contribution of more than $854 million for Yemen humanitarian assistance since October 1, 2016.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) and Emirates Red Crescent on November 27 announced a joint US$500 million aid initiative to alleviate a food crisis in Yemen. The move will benefit 10 to 12 million Yemenis.
Yemen has been a victim of the war since it’s 1960’s civil war. The fighting took place between Marxist South Yemen and the north followed. Though Yemen unified in 1990, the resentment persisted under 22 years of kleptocratic rule by Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In 2011, Arab Spring protests ultimately forced Saleh to resign, but he continued to wield power behind the scenes and maintained the loyalty of many armed forces commanders. In 2014 he formed an alliance with a group of Shiite northerners called Houthis — who he had gone to war with in the past — and helped them capture the capital, Sanaa.
The Houthis fight with extreme violence and don’t launch a straight war with people they struck fear into the hearts of civilians by laying mines that killed and wounded hundreds of civilians with least amount of effort, they also focused on targeting and torturing religious minorities, and imprisoned opponents.
They killed their very own leader Saleh in 2017, when they thought he switched sides and supported Saudi-led coalition that was trying to get rid of them.
Iran has also been trying to form a “Shi’ite Crescent” across the Middle East, through Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean. Iran also started sponsoring Shia uprisings in Bahrain.
Meanwhile, Iran has been referring to Bahrain as “the 14th province of Iran” in its state-run broadcasts; Saudi Arabia has said Iran was behind Shia uprisings in the oil-rich “Empty Quarter,” and the UAE has placed nine Iranian entities and individuals on its terrorism list.
With a common religious bond, Iranian agents built political alliances with Houthi clans with flattery, funds, and strategic marriages.
Their shared goal, according to Reuters, is to “‘strengthen their hand in the region,” create a Hezbollah-like militia in Yemen, and “encircle the Saudis…, expand its influence and power projection in the region and develop levers of unconventional pressure.”
Yemen stood up to fight the rebels with US as well as Saudi-led coalition because if Yemen fell then Iran’s allies would begin uprisings in Shia-majority pockets in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states would soon follow. America’s allies could suffer civil wars of their own, distracting them from U.S. efforts to destroy ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.
Houthi’s as always have been militarily more sophisticated and better at creating massive destruction and damaging lives of casualties because of Iran’s training, financial aids, weapons dealing as well as providing military personnel. Yemen’s borders despite getting help from countries to fight have been weak and are weakening further because of Iran’s relationship with Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Because of this relationship in October of 2018, Mike Pompeo, U.S. secretary of state, and James Mattis, U.S. secretary of defense, both called for an end to the fighting and publicly expressed support for peace talks proposed by the United Nations.
Houthis may not respond or agree to cease-fire as they wouldn’t be benefitting in anyway from stepping back : in fact the role reversal would be in the Coalition’s favor. The world would turn its attention to the Houthis as the aggressors and spoilers, and Saudi self-defense would be widely tolerated.
Given the suffering of millions of innocent civilians, the UN — mainly through World Food Programme (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF — have waged a huge, costly, and uphill battle against the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
This war is not easy to recover from and doesn’t need just aid but also the economy is shut down and for civilians to recover from this trauma and work their way to leading a normal life seems far from impossible.
And the main aspect that all leaders and organisations can agree on is that Iran’s involvement and it’s growth by using barbaric power is growing steadily and it is high time to find a solution to weaken their regional hegemonic ambitions, that may be the only way to guarantee stability in the Arab region.